By Eric C. Rodenberg
ARLINGTON, Ind. — A herd of 34 “high-end commercial” goats perished in a Feb. 19 early morning fire, fueled by 30 mph westerly winds.
Firefighters from Posey Township, dispatched to the fire at 6:46 a.m., requested mutual aid from fire departments from Rushville Township and the towns of Manilla and Morristown.
The owner of the barn, Shawn Orme, rushed into the barn shortly after alerting firefighters and was able to save eight goats. However, by that time, the 70-year-old barn was engulfed by flames.
“The fire chief told me to never do that again … I hope I never have to,” Orme said.
The barn, valued at $80,000, was a total loss, according to Posey Township Fire Chief Jeff Ernstes. Contents of the barn – including a 1967 Oliver tractor with front loader, hay and straw – lost in the fire were valued at $25,000.
“It was a real nice barn,” Ernstes said. “I could just see it in his eyes – Shawn Orme’s – he was devastated.”
The cause of the fire was electrical, Ernstes said.
When firefighters arrived on the scene the barn was totally engulfed in flames, Ernstes said. Firefighters were able to contain the fire, preventing it spreading to a house about 200 feet east of the barn. No damage was reported to the house and a chicken coop, converted into a smaller goat barn, as the firefighters fought the flames in the 30 mph west winds.
The Ormes family raised goats to show in 4-H, and sold additional show quality stock to other competitors in the area.